Reporters caught up with Amar'e Stoudemire outside of the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on West 47th on Saturday night -- where he took in the Rock of Ages musical (which was produced, by the way, by his agent, Happy Walters) and the all-star free agent confirmed what we told you on Saturday: that's he's talked to Tony Parker and Carmelo Anthony about joining him in New York.
"I've talked to Carmelo Anthony to come out here, I've talked to Tony Parker," Stoudemire told reporters. "Both those guys are ready to join me if I decide to come here, so I'm going to see if we can work it out."
The catch, of course, is that both players are still under contract with their respective teams for one more season.
But as we reported, the Knicks have reached out to both the Spurs and Nuggets to gauge the potential for a trade. At this point, the Nuggets are not ready to consider trading their star player, though a person with knowledge of the situation told Newsday that Carmelo is strongly considering not signing a three-year, $65 million extension offer from the Nuggets. He has a year to sign it and the Nuggets feel that's enough time to convince him -- and wife LaLa Vasquez -- to stay.
In the meantime, they're apparently looking to upgrade their roster by exploring sign-and-trade talks for Chris Bosh, according to Yahoo! Sports.
Clearly the Knicks don't have enough assets right now to get BOTH Parker and Anthony. Anyone who is still counting on David Lee as a sign-and-trade asset needs to let that one go. Lee will have many options in free agency and will be able to choose his destination. The only way Lee would help the Knicks is if it helps him: by getting his full Bird Rights max via sign-and-trade with a team that has something the Knicks want.
I don't see David having a great interest in Denver or San Antonio at this time. There was a silly rumor thrown out there about the Knicks trading Lee for Monta Ellis. No chance.
The Knicks may have looked into Ellis' availability because they're looking into everybody. I mean everyone. They have cap space and if they only come away with Amar'e in free agency they'll have a lot to use to offer as cap relief in exchange for a big contract.
So that means, yes, even Gilbert Arenas could be on the list. And the Knicks will keep calling the Hornets about Chris Paul just to make sure no really means no.
On the LeBron front, as we told you on Friday, there's little to no chance he'll have a decision by Monday, as initially reported elsewhere. I expect LeBron may be ready to make an announcement on Wednesday or Thursday. Teams can begin officially signing players on Thursday.
You might have noticed at the end of my story in Sunday's Newsday an interesting quote from Dwyane Wade during his meeting with the Knicks on Friday in Chicago. The Knicks were outlining how they would build a team around Wade and have the financial ability to sustain it for years to come. Wade replied, "Just get me one player and I'll get you a ring."
Wade is really good, isn't he? I think the Knicks contingent even giggled and blushed after he said it. Out of all the free agents, he's really worked the room and has to have Pat Riley at least a little nervous. Can you imagine if the Heat, with two players left under contract, lose Wade?
As far as the comment to the Knicks, I wouldn't read too much into it. I think it was Wade's way of saying he knows that just by himself he has enough talent to win. Add another all-star and he can win a championship. So who is that player he's talking about? Bosh? Amar'e? Joe? Nah, probably LeBron. It's probably the only way Wade would even consider the Knicks as an option.
And the Knicks let both players know they'd love to have them together on the Garden stage if that's what they wanted. The thought is appealing, but I believe it's more likely you'll see me in a Knicks uniform as the 12th man than those two guys in a Knicks uniform next season. Don't laugh, I can wave the heck out of a towel.
By the way, just a thought: If Tulsa center Jerome Jordan, who was a second round pick purchased by the Knicks on draft night, makes the team, shouldn't he be issued No. 23? How hot would a Knicks No. 23 jersey with "Jordan" on the back? Sorry Toney Douglas, but it just has to happen.
Or maybe, with th fact LeBron likely isn't coming, it would be too depressing.
By the way the Stoudemire thing is not totally a given, but it's the surest bet the Knicks have among the top free agents. As we reported today, they're trying hard to get Joe Johnson to change his mind about taking the full max from Atlanta. They're letting him know he can make up some of that money with opportunities in New York and other creative ways via his contract. The idea that he could be an albatross for the Hawks has to concern Johnson, but obviously the $27 million deficit between the max offers from Atlanta to the Knicks will make it extremely difficult for Johnson to say no to Atlanta.
Stoudemire is supposed to still meet with the Bulls on Tuesday, but Chicago isn't sure they'll get the chance. The Knicks don't want to totally commit to Amar'e until they know for sure that Chris Bosh is out of play, but the Knicks also know they can't afford to gamble and lose both players.
Stoudemire will take in a Yankees game today and meet with the Knicks on Monday. We'll have more later today.
Enjoy the 4th. The best item I can report right now is I'm at the airport and headed home!